Education

Alumna named new Meredith president

Posted April 18, 2011 2:18 p.m. EDT

— Meredith College has for the first time picked an alumna to lead the women's college, officials said Monday.

Jo Allen, senior vice president and provost at Widener University in Chester, Pa., will take the reins at Meredith on July 1. She succeeds President Maureen Hartford, who announced last year that she planned to retire after 12 years at Meredith.

“This a position I’ve aspired to and prepared for my entire career," Allen, who earned a bachelor's degree from Meredith in 1980, said in a statement. "As an alumna, I know firsthand that Meredith is a special place, one that for more than a century has produced women leaders who have made their mark in education, business, government and, perhaps most importantly, with their families and communities."

Allen said one of her main efforts would be to expand Meredith’s partnerships with business, government and not-for-profit organizations throughout the state and nation.

“She’s a believer in what Meredith is all about,” Sam Ewell, chairman of Meredith's Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “The fact that she’s also an alumna was icing on the cake."

Allen earned a master's degree from East Carolina University and a doctorate from Oklahoma State University. She taught previously at ECU and North Carolina State University.

Meredith is one of the largest women's colleges in the U.S.